Skip to main content

Hunters in Wisconsin will be allowed to kill a total of 130 gray wolves when the hunting season opens in November. 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Monday announced the limit, going against a proposal from the agency's policy board to more than double the quota for the Nov. 6 hunting season. 

The Wisconsin DNR initially recommended the quota for the hunt to be 130 wolves. But in August, the DNR's policy board set the quota at 300 wolves

Wisconsin Public Radio notes this is the latest development in an "apparent power struggle" between the DNR under Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, and the conservative majority on the DNR policy board. This includes DNR board Chair Fred Prehn, a former Republican Gov. Scott Walker appointee, who has not ceded control of his seat despite his term ending in May for reasons that include wanting to vote on the quota for the fall wolf hunt, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The DNR said in a news release it considered the "best available information and scientific modeling" plus input from the Wolf Harvest Committee, the DNR board and "many groups and members of the public" to determine this year's quota. 

DNR spokesperson Sarah Hoye told the Wisconsin State Journal she is unaware of a time when the DNR has modified a quota the board has set. 

Licensed hunters will be allowed to kill 74 wolves, with the DNR saying it will "honor the Ojibwe Tribes' treaty right within the Ceded Territory," allowing tribes to kill 56 wolves. 

In past years, the tribes have chosen to protect their share of wolves and not hunt them, the Wisconsin State Journal says

The DNR will issue 370 licenses, a ratio of five licenses per wolf, through a lottery system, with licenses going on sale Oct. 25, the release said. 

This will be Wisconsin's second wolf hunt since the Trump administration removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list in January, making it legal for states to hold wolf hunts again. The DNR had planned to begin holding wolf hunts in November 2021 (Wisconsin state law requires a wolf hunt be held every year), but a Kansas-based hunting group filed a lawsuit demanding one in February.

In just three days in February, hunters killed 218 wolves, exceeding the 119-wolf quota. National Geographic reports hunters killed one-third of the state's wolves during the hunt. 

The DNR's announcement Monday comes about two weeks after six Ojibwe tribes filed a lawsuit against the DNR, claiming it violates their treaty rights and is putting an animal they consider sacred in danger. 

Follow Bring Me The News on Facebook

Last week, the tribes filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the state to halt the hunt, anticipating the DNR would lower the wolf quota. A news release says even if the quota was lowered to 130, that figure has "no grounding in sound biological principles because, in developing the recommended quota, the [DNR] failed to obtain a population estimate of the Wisconsin wolves that are remaining after a rushed hunt held in February."

Prior to the February wolf hunt, the DNR estimated Wisconsin had 1,136 wolves. Wildlife advocacy groups said a second wolf hunt in the same year could lead to the "destruction" of half the state's wolf population and puts the survival of the animal in the state at risk.

The November wolf hunt is also facing a legal challenge by wildlife advocacy groups, including Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and Wildlife, which calls the 2011 law that requires a mandatory wolf hunt whenever they're not on the endangered species list unconstitutional

Meanwhile, Prehn has said the quota should be based on the state's current wolf management plan, which sets a management goal of 350 wolves in Wisconsin. Some hunters have also pushed for a higher quota for the upcoming hunt. 

Critics say the state's management plan is outdated and not based on current science.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Trump administration removed gray wolves from the federal endangered species list on Jan. 4, 2021, returning management authority to state agencies. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is currently undergoing the process of updating its wolf management plan and has not revealed if a wolf hunt is in the state's future. 

Next Up

Winter scene snow storm snowfall highway driving traffic - Joe Nelson Feb 2022 4

Winter storm warning for Twin Cities: 6+ inches possible

The heaviest snow could move through the Twin Cities.

police lights

Carver man charged after standoff with police in Prior Lake

The man had been fleeing from police when he allegedly broke into a home and the standoff ensued.

ambulance

41-year-old Sherburne County man killed after crashing car into ditch

The crash occurred Sunday night in Palmer Township.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 4.01.10 PM

Around 200 rescued after ice breaks free on Upper Red Lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

JamborMugshot

Charges: Drunk driver almost struck Bemidji parade spectators

The man told police he was trying to attend the parade himself.

6

The SCHEELS Experience

Whether looking for reliable hunting and fishing gear or new clothing and shoes, Eden Prairie SCHEELS is a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family.

0

Charges: Man fatally shot ex's new partner as he dined at Bloomington restaurant

Criminal charges filed Monday detail an alleged motive in the shooting.

MetallicaLiveLondonWikimedia

Metallica to perform 2 nights in Minneapolis on 2023-24 World Tour

The heavy metal rock band returns to the state for the first time since 2018.

snow, plow

Tuesday storm to dump plowable snow in Minnesota

Snow should reach the Twin Cities Tuesday morning and fall throughout the day.

Related

gray wolf

Wisconsin DNR Board votes to approve wolf hunting season

The board voted to allow 200 wolves to be harvested for a shortened February season.

gray wolf

Hunting group sues Wisconsin DNR in attempt to allow wolf hunt this winter

The Trump administration delisted the gray wolf from the endangered species list, making it possible for wolf hunts to resume.

gray wolf

6 Wisconsin tribes sue to end upcoming wolf hunt

They cite treaty rights and a "disastrous February hunt."

DNR: Limited wolf-hunting season possible in 2012

The DNR says it's considering a limited hunting and trapping season this year. The agency says it's trying to ensure the species' long-term survival while also addressing conflicts between wolves and humans. The announcement comes shortly after the federal government said it will remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

DNR working on framework of first wolf hunt

The Game and Fish bill signed into law Thursday allows Minnesotans to legally hunt and trap wolves for the first time in nearly four decades. The legislation gives the DNR authority to set harvest limits and conduct a hunter lottery. About 3,000 wolves live in Minnesota right now and the agency plans to reduce the population by about 400 this fall. The gray wolf was removed from the Federal Endangered Species List in January.

Wolf hunt: DNR reports more than 100 wolves killed in first eight days

Minnesota hunters have killed at least 110 wolves in the first eight days of the state's highly controversial wolf hunt, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The statewide quota for the early hunting season is 200 wolves, which runs through Nov. 18 or until hunters reach the limit.

Wisconsin opens wolf hunt

Wisconsin's first hunting season since the gray wolf came off the endangered species list begins Monday. Hunters and trappers will be allowed to take 201 wolves by the end of February, although nearly half of those are set aside for tribal members. Unlike their Minnesota counterparts (whose season begins Nov. 3rd), Wisconsinites will be able to hunt at night and use dogs.